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How to Put Your Restaurant Training Into Your Own Place

So you've gone to restaurant school, maybe even earned a restaurant management degree, and worked in a variety of restaurant chef jobs. Now you're ready for the ultimate risk--quitting your restaurant job and opening your own place. Here are a few things to think about.

Job Description: Restaurant General Manager

You may have been a highly respected chef when you worked for someone else. But once you open your own place, you become the chief cook and bottle washer. You are the chef, but you are also the general manager. You may find yourself taking on all the tasks that nobody else has completed. You may cook the Boeuf Bourguignonne at dinner time and then end the evening by sweeping the floor because the hired help went home early.

Restaurant Staffing and Jobs

Unfortunately there is no simple restaurant training manual that you can use to create a loyal staff. Many of the restaurant owners we spoke to ended up using all their startup capital on furnishing and decorating their new establishments and had very little left over for a high-level staff.

In most cases, the successful formula involves a two- or three-person partnership, with one partner acting as chef, another as manager, and all of the partners taking turns as greeters. The greeter is almost as important as the chef when it comes to making a new restaurant thrive. Customers return to a place where they feel welcome and comfortable.

Purchasing as a Restaurant Career

Another one of the important restaurant jobs is the purchaser. One of the new restaurants we visited is partly owned by a man who has a thriving business importing specialty foods from Italy. As a result, the restaurant--only a few months old--already has a reputation for having the most unusual list of Italian wines and cheeses in its area.

It's hard work, and the owner of a new restaurant may be the last one to collect a salary. However, not one of the owners or partners we've talked to expressed regret about having opened their own restaurant.